Research Teams Report

Quantum-State Leaps

Teams of scientists in the United States and Austria said yesterday that they had for the first time made properties called quantum states jump from one atom to another without using any physical link.

The advance could help lead to "quantum computing" technology and superfast computers. Quantum states include physical properties such as energy, motion and magnetic field.

Teams at the University of Innsbruck in Austria and the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Boulder, Colo., reported the work in two papers in the journal Nature.

Two years ago, scientists at the Australian National University announced they had teleported a laser beam of light from one spot to another in a split second.

"Using teleportation as we've reported could allow logic operations to be performed much more quickly," physicist David Wineland, leader of the NIST team, said in a statement.

Liposuction Fails to Cut

Obesity's Risk Factors

Liposuction may let doctors extract body fat, but it does not cut the risk of heart disease or diabetes the way losing weight would, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis reported.

Volunteers lost 12 percent of their weight -- most of it fat tissue -- but their blood pressure, insulin levels, cholesterol levels and other risk factors were unchanged.

"They're still obese. But had they lost that same amount of weight by dieting, they would have exhibited considerable improvements in their cardiovascular risk factors," said Samuel Klein of the university's Center for Human Nutrition.

The finding means liposuction is no substitute for weight loss produced by diet and exercise, he said.

Liposuction is performed on nearly 400,000 people in the country each year, making it the nation's most common cosmetic operation.

The study appears in today's New England Journal of Medicine.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Gets Targeted Therapy

For the first time, a drug has relieved rheumatoid arthritis by knocking out a type of immune cell -- an approach that could open the way for precisely targeted treatments for a number of illnesses.

Other arthritis drugs on the market either treat just the symptoms, or employ a broader, more scattershot effect against the underlying process. Such drugs can have toxic side effects.

An international team, led by University College London, reported the results in today's New England Journal of Medicine.

"I think this is a pivotal study," said John H. Klippel, president of the Arthritis Foundation.

The researchers compared rituximab to other drugs in 161 patients with arthritis. Roche, a distributor of rituximab, funded and participated in the study.

After six months, more than 40 percent of patients who took rituximab combinations were greatly improved. One-third of patients on rituximab alone were greatly improved. But only 13 percent of those on the standard drug alone improved that much.

-- From News Services